Last night’s ratification of JPEPA, late in the night in fact when most Filipinos were about to sleep, is truly a bad development for Filipinos.
The Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement should now be viewed in the context of the worsening (and still no end in sight) global financial crisis (which has resulted in a financial meltdown for some).
Japan is also caving in under the weight of its own crisis of overproduction and financial crisis. The value of the stocks for car manufacturers like Toyota or giant computer chip makers like Memorex are falling fast. Yesterday $250 billion value in stocks was wiped out.
Now comes JPEPA’s ratification.
One senator said that the deal would make the Philippines more competetive in a time of worsening global economic crunch.
But’s let’s look at the other side of the equation, Japan.
The near-recession Japan would use the JPEPA to maximize its profits and squeeze the most of what it can from the Philippines natural and labor resources. They will do this probably with little regard to the Philippine constitution. The exchange of notes from the foreign affairs officials at this point does not give any reassurance that we will not be taken advantage of. It also remains to be seen if such an exchange of notes is actually binding.
Japan will do everything and anything to help itself out of a recession. The concessions it reported gives the Philippines can be viewed as insignificant, even inconsequential. Ask the nurses. They know being a licensend Filipino nurse in Japan is not made any easier by this agreement. Ask the environmentalists who are wary of Japanese toxic wastes. Ask the fisherfolk who worry that Japanese fishing vessels will be allowed to roam Philippine waters. Ask the workers who know that the Philippines will be a dumping ground of Japanese surplus products, everything execpt uhm… salt.
This is not being competitive at all. This is all about being trampled upon and exploited. And the Philippine Senate, through the efforts also of the Executive, has just allowed that to happen.
The worse thing is, many other imperialist countries will also attempt to forge a similar free trade agreement with the Philippines. The JPEPA has set the precedent